Friday, December 3, 2010

First my apologies; I've been away from 'blogging' for a bit; pressing family matters having taken precedence.  I will try to schedule posts as well as I can as may be away very soon again.

In case you haven’t noticed it’s that time of year again….December! When thoughts turn to spending money, money, money as we rush with break neck speed to bring home all the glitter and glamour advertisers tell us we should have! Spending with one thought in mind …. Having a joyful, happy, fun filled Christmas!

I remember a simpler Christmas time when we really did have a joyful, happy time without excessive spending and credit card top ups! Some of you may remember also, and in the next several blogs I’d like to share my memories of Christmases past!

Round about the first of December the ‘Wish Book’ would arrive in the mail. Ah, the ‘WISH BOOK’; filled with Christmas wonders and dreams. Toys galore and festive items including velvet dresses and jackets for boys.; jewelry and perfumes for mom, leather items for dad. Gifts for one and all! But mostly a child’s ‘WISH BOOK”; a book of dreams. A book destined to become dog eared within a week….that is if you could find where mother and dad had hidden the book.

In Canada we had two large merchandisers …. T. Eaton Company Limited and Simpsons. These firms published merchandise catalogues twice yearly and a ‘Wish Book’ at Christmas time. For many remote locations almost all merchandise was purchased by mail order from these catalogues – everything from household appliances, furniture and decorations and clothing. Every community was equipped with at least a catalogue store by these merchandisers.

The ‘Wish Book’ usually featured a selected ‘must have’ toy, a premier toy … one for girls and one for boys. The Eaton Company always had a very, extra special ‘Eaton’ doll for girls and a super special fire engine or latest Roy Roger’s guns and holster. No other reading material was necessary, we sat by the hour looking through the ‘Wish Book’ dreaming of Christmas.

Hands would go out and caress the object of our desire as if we were already holding the precious item; and quickly flip back a page. Maybe if we had been extra specially good, just maybe; but maybe not!

Funny thing though, we never ever coveted the extra special premier toy and would flip past that item. We knew in our heart of hearts that Santa would bring the items on Christmas Eve, yet somehow we knew we would not receive the year’s most wanted, most expensive toy, yet we knew they came ‘free’ under the tree. And we also knew we could wish for only one item from Santa.

I’ve been pondering why we passed the special toy of the year. Certain children did receive these items but we never questioned why they didn’t arrive at our home. We sort of figured Santa had run out of these limited editions by the time he arrived at our door. It really was quite apparent that Santa made his first stop of the top of ‘snob’s hill’. Maybe if we lived at the top of the hill rather than the bottom. However most of us lived at the bottom of the hill – only a selected few lived at the top where the doctor’s and lawyers resided.

I can still hear us gathered round the catalogue. “Oh! Look at that”, “I want that”, “You’ve been bad, you won’t get that” “I haven’t been too bad”. And, “Oh! Look at THAT!”. Hours and hours of dreams, little heads together sharing a catalogue. Even dreams were filled with visions from the catalogue as we flipped the pages in our sleep.

I still wish for the ‘Wish Book’ to start my Christmas season and to be able again to share this ‘dream’ book with my brothers and sisters.


  1. Ruby, I love the reminising and descriptions in your blog! We had the Sears catalogue which was much the same thing. I don't know if there is much dreaming and wishing and anticipation these days, people just buy things, charge them on their cards and there is not much thought of a particular gift for a particular person. It is all really a gift for China now, that is where everything is made.

  2. i remember the shop windows of the big department stores in Seattle, and all the city lights ("even stoplights blink a bright red and green...") keep reminiscing, Ruby, and keep dreaming of your favorite things...